We owe a great debt to Jean Baptiste Marc Bourgery (1797–1849) for his Atlas of Anatomy, which was not only a massive event in medical history, but also remains one of the most comprehensive and beautifully illustrated anatomical treatises ever published in any language. In 1830, having received his doctorate in medicine three years prior, Bourgery began work on his magnificent atlas in cooperation with illustrator Nicolas Henri Jacob (1782–1871), a student of the French painter Jacques Louis David. The first volumes were published the following year, but completion of the treatise required nearly two decades of dedication; Bourgery lived just long enough to finish his labor of love, but the last of the treatise’s eight volumes was not published in its entirety until five years after his death.
The four parts of Bourgery’s treatise cover descriptive anatomy, surgical anatomy and techniques (exploring in detail nearly all the major operations that were performed during the first half of the 19th century), general anatomy and embryology, and microscopic anatomy. Jacob’s spectacular hand-colored, life-size lithographs are remarkable for their clarity, color, and aesthetic appeal, reflecting a combination of direct laboratory observation and illustrative research; the images are to this day unsurpassed in anatomical illustration. This reprint includes the complete color plates—726 in total—and will finally allow not only those in the medical field but also artists, students, and anyone interested in the study of the human body to appreciate this important historical work.
Jean-Marie Le Minor has been assistant professor of anatomy at the Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg since 1990, radiologist at the University Hospitals in Strasbourg, member of the governing board of the Société Française d’Histoire de la Médecine, Laureate of the Académie Nationale de Médecine (Paris, 2003), and officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (French Ministry of Culture). He is also the author of several history books and numerous articles on science and history.
Henri Sick was professor of anatomy at the Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg from 1972 to 2003 and director of the Institute of Normal Anatomy from 1994 to 2003. He is an officer of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques (French Ministry of Education) and the author of several books on sectional anatomy, as well as numerous scientific articles.